One name that keeps popping up among Yankees fans as a possible replacement DH is Jorge Vazquez. At first glace he certainly seems tempting considering he hit 32 homers in Triple-A last season.
However, there are big reasons why he’ll never get a chance in anything more than an emergency role. The guy has big holes in his swing, he strikes out a ton and barely ever walks.
Josh Norris of the Trentonian recently interviewed Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, who said that Vazquez might be the equivalent of a .200 hitter in the majors. Long gives the impression that if it were up to him, Vazquez wouldn’t be coming to the Bronx at all next year.
Here is the money quote:
“I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you,” Long said when asked if Vazquez could have a big league impact in 2012. “I know that he had a very good year in Scranton, a lot of home runs, but he hit .250. Two-fifty in Triple-A is probably equivalent to .200 in the big leagues, so does that warrant him getting called up? I’m not so sure. Is he a big swing-and-miss guy? Is his strike-zone discipline not where it needs to be? Those are things that our minor league guys are going to have to evaluate and stay on top of.
“When I get Jorge one of the first things that we’re going to talk about is, ‘Listen, we’ve got to get better about staying in the strike zone.’ He’s getting as much of that in the minor leagues as I was going to give him in the big leagues, and we’ll kind of see how this plays out, but I’m excited to have him in our system and I hope he continues to get better and we’ll see what happens.”
Vazquez was signed out of Mexico before the 2009 season. He was more of a sign him and maybe they’ll be pleasantly surprised type of player than somebody they ever really counted on. By the time he reached the minors he was already 27 and had a very small window to impress and has now falling into the organizational player category. He’s good to have in the system, but he’ll never contribute at the major league level.
Check out the rest of Norris’ interview with Kevin Long because Vazquez was far from the only topic.